Arabian Peninsula woes; Oil price surges; US jobless claims fall; yields higher; NZ$1 = US75.62

Short headline: 
90 seconds at 9 am: Oil worries

Here's my summary of the key issues from overnight that affect New Zealand, including worries amid concerns that fighting in the Arabian Peninsula between a Saudi-led coalition and Houthi rebels in Yemen could disrupt supplies.

Apologies this article is a little curtailed today due to internet access problems.

Oil prices rallied for a second straight day on Thursday after Saudi Arabia and its Gulf Arab allies began air strikes in Yemen. There's now talk that Egypt may join in the conflict.

US crude has risen US1.70 to US50.91, while Brent crude has climbed US2.45 to US$58.93 a barrel.

In slightly brighter news the number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits fell more than expected last week while activity in the services sector hit a six-month high in March, underscoring the economy's solid fundamentals despite a recent softening in growth.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 9,000 to a seasonally adjusted 282,000 for the week ended March 21, the Labor Department said.

That was the lowest level since mid-February and was better than economists' expectations for a dip to 290,000.

Harsh weather, the now-settled labor dispute at the country's busy West Coast ports, softer global demand and a strong dollar undercut growth early in the first quarter.

Thursday's upbeat reports, however, implied the slowdown would be temporary.

The four-week moving average of claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, fell 7,750 to 297,000 last week.

In a separate report, financial data firm Markit said its preliminary or "flash" Purchasing Managers Index for the service sector rose to 58.6 in March, the highest reading since September, from 57.1 in February.

Prices for U.S. government debt fell, while the dollar rose against a basket of currencies. U.S. stocks were trading lower after Saudi Arabia and its allies launched air strikes on Yemen.

In New York, the UST 10yr yields rose to 1.97%. The New Zealand swap curve moved lower and flatter yesterday in a trend that caught up with some of the recent Wall Street yields falls.

The gold price has risen to US$1,204/oz.

The New Zealand dollar is down overnight at 75.62 US¢, and it is at 96.8 AU¢, and the TWI is at 80.26

If you want to catch up with all the local changes yesterday, we have an update here.

The easiest place to stay up with event risk is by following our Economic Calendar here »

Daily exchange rates

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ymin_pad[i]=Math.min.apply(Math, yaxisAr[i]);
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var y_min=ymin_pad[i] – margin_min;

// var ymax=ymax_pad[i];
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// var max_ticks=1000;
// var ticks_int=(ymax-ymin)/max_ticks;
// var ymax_padder=ymax_pad[i]+ticks_int;
// var ymin_padder=ymin_pad[i]-ticks_int;
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// alert("ymax_pad="+ymax_pad[i]);
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// alert("ymin_pad="+ymin_pad[i]);
// alert("ymin="+ymin);
$('#container_'+i).highcharts('StockChart', {
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width:547,
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marginTop:-43, //takes the chart area up
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itemStyle: {
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color: '#000000',
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verticalAlign: 'bottom',
y:-35
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href: source_hyperlink_arr[j] },

exporting: {
enabled:false, //diables the print button
},

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selected : 0,
inputEnabled : false,
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display: 'none'
},
labelStyle:{
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},
buttons: [{
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count: window_selector,
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type: 'week',
count: 3,
text: '3w'
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type: 'month',
count: 6,
text: '6m'
}, {
type: 'ytd',
text: 'YTD'
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count: 1,
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navigator : {
adaptToUpdatedData: false,
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labels:{
enabled: false,
},
},
height: 50,
margin:-2,
series:{
lineColor:'#FF0000',
fillColor : '#FFFFFF'
}
},

title : {
text : chart_title_arr[j],
align: 'left',
x: 26,
verticalAlign: 'top',
//y: 50,
style: {
fontFamily:'Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif',
fontWeight:'bold'
}
},

subtitle : {
text : chart_subtitles_arr[j],
floating:true, //enable us to position the subtitle using 'x' and 'y'
align: 'center',
x:10,
y:15,
style: {
fontFamily:'Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif',
},
},

xAxis: {
type:'datetime',
lineWidth: 20,
// gridLineColor:'#FAFFFF',
// gridLineDashStyle:'Dot',
dateTimeLabelFormats: {
day: '%e-%b',
week: '%e-%b',
month: '%b-%y',
year: '%Y'
},
max:xpad,
events: {
setExtremes: function(e) {
if (e.trigger === "navigator") {
max=e.max+padding_value;
var x=this;
setTimeout(function(){
x.setExtremes(e.min,max); //chart xAxis
}, 4);
}
}
},
labels: {
style: {
color: 'black',
fontSize: '10px',
fontWeight:'bold',
fontFamily:'Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif'
},
y:3
}
},

yAxis: {
opposite: true,
startonTick: true,
endonTick: true,
labels: {
formatter: function() {
return Highcharts.numberFormat(this.value,setdecimalpoints(this.value));
},
style: {
color: 'black',
fontSize: '10px',
fontWeight:'normal'
},
y:-12
}
},

scrollbar: {
liveRedraw: false
},

series : [{
data : finalAr[i],
id: 'dataseries',
lineWidth:3,
pointPlacement: 'on',
zIndex:9999,
name : 'AAPL Stock Price',
shadow:{
width:3,
color:'#000000'
},
lineColor:'#FF0000',
type : 'area',
threshold : null,
tooltip : {
valueDecimals : decimal_arr[i],
useHTML: true,
headerFormat:'

{point.key}
‘,
pointFormat: ‘{point.y}
‘,
footerFormat:’

‘,
},
dataGrouping:{
dateTimeLabelFormats: {
hour:[‘%b-%e,%Y’, ‘%b-%e,%Y’, ”],
day: [‘%b-%e,%Y’, ‘%b-%e,%Y’, ‘-%b %e, %Y’],
week: [‘%e-%b,%Y’, ‘%e-%b,%Y’, ‘-%e %b, %Y’],
month:[‘%b-%y’, ‘%b-%y’, ‘-%b %y %Y’],
year: [‘%Y’, ‘%Y’, ‘-%Y’] }
},
fillColor: {
linearGradient: { x1: 0, y1: 0, x2: 0, y2: 1},
stops: [
[0, ‘#FFD8D5’],
[1, ‘rgba(255,255,255,0)’] ] },
fillOpacity:.01
},
{
type: ‘flags’,
useHTML: true,
name: ‘Flags on series’,
data: JSON.parse(“[“+flag_test+”]”),
onSeries: ‘dataseries’,
shape: “url(/sites/all/libraries/InterestHighcharts/images/balloon.jpg)”,
width : 5,
y: -33 //this is for flag
}]

});
}
});
//$(‘.series’).animate({height: 600, width: 800});

})(jQuery);

We update this chart twice each day, from the same data the drives our 'live-rates' charts.

Read full story